IP – Miskitu People, Nicaragua

Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples – 13 July 2018

Oral statement of Ms. Vielka Valeria SABALLO ERNESTO (People of Miskitu, Nicaragua)

We are Miskitu indigenous peoples from Wangki Twi Tasba territory of the North Caribbean Nicaraguan Coast, demarcated and titled in 2010. We are 18,117 and 23 communities.

The systematic human rights violations, impunity and violence experienced by Nicaraguan citizens since 18 April of this year, to this day add up to 305 assassinated persons. Weeks of protests and violence in Nicaragua have highlighted the serious human rights situation in the country and the need for the Nicaraguan government to take important measures to prevent further loss of life, address impunity and guarantee justice to the victims, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights , Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

This violence has been experienced by indigenous and Afro-descent communities for more than ten years.

The conflict broke in 2007, with the invasion of settlers and the removal of natural resources from indigenous and afro-descendant territories. Since 2014, violence has increased due to the incursions into the communities of the settlers who attack with firearms of military use, burn crops, kidnap indiscriminately women, men, children, rape women and kill community members and leaders. In this context, the settlers have murdered with impunity more than 40 indigenous brothers, including my brother, Kent Disman. The formal complaints presented by the community have not been addressed by the corresponding authorities, showing that there are government guidelines for not receiving complaints from indigenous peoples.

The violence affects more than 50 communities of which 12 of them are at high risk, but especially my territory Wangki Twi Tasba Raya, Wangki Li Aubra and Wangki Lilamni in the North Caribbean. As a result of this violence it is estimated that 30% of the population, families and entire communities have been forced to move to flee their communities. To protect their lives, some even taking refuge in the Miskito communities of Honduras, children, elderly people live in the streets and markets of the cities, Both the displaced and the community members who chose to stay in the community are living through a humanitarian crisis due to the lack of food, fear and insecurity in the face of persistent violence, without the assistance of or humanitarian support from the State or international organizations.

It should be noted that the organs of the Inter-American System have issued precautionary and provisional measures in order to have, as an interim measure, the immediate adoption by the State of Nicaragua of all measures to eradicate existing violence, as well as protect and guarantee respect for life, personal and territorial integrity and cultural identity, in favor of the members of the Miskitu indigenous people who live in the aforementioned communities, although the State has not complied with them.